Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Nate's past 6 months in France!

We wanted to catch you up on Nate’s adventures and experiences over the past 5 months!  He has been really busy and has covered a lot of geography and different responsibilities in France. Nate has moved from Nantes, to Tours and Antony and is now serving as an Assistant in Versailles

As of early September Nate had been serving for 5 months in Nantes which is described as “A city on the Loire River in the Upper Brittany region of Western France, has a long history as a port and industrial center. It's home to the restored, 15th-century Château des Ducs de Bretagne, where the Dukes of Brittany once lived. The castle is now a local history museum with multimedia exhibits, and visitors can walk among its turrets.

8th Transfer

A few experiences in Nantes, France

At about 8:55 just before we were going to walk home I saw two young guys who were walking down the Main Street and they were walking at a decent pace. All of a sudden they stopped completely and turned down the street where we were which usually is not a great sign. That is not exactly what you want at 9:00 pm as it looked like two young kids looking for trouble. I said to myself oh well here we go what are they going to say this time. To our surprise one of them blurted out "Hey Elders!". We said hello and asked exactly how he knew who we were. He then preceded to tell us that he was a member of the church that he just recently moved to Nantes and the other guy that was with him was his soon to be brother and law. They had all just moved here with his fiance. They were so excited to see us and even the non-member knew exactly who we were. He was giving us huge high fives and was so excited! We asked them what their names were and they told us.  We started walking and I was thinking about their names. Then I remembered the day before the senior couple in charge of referrals had told us there was a member that was moving to Nantes with his sister and her boyfriend. That the sister and boyfriend had taken the missionary lessons and were planning to get baptized before they moved. In that moment I asked what their names were again and confirmed it was the same people!  In that moment I was astonished.  How in the world did we find these people? Somehow in this little street at 9:00 pm, we ran into these two individuals among 100,000 people that live in Nantes. We got their phone number and set up to go by their house this week. Valuable lesson in following the promptings of the spirit and being obedient.

Nantes - Castle

This little family had been taught by some the Elders in the small city of St. Nazaire just on the ocean. So on Thursday I got to go to talk with them. It was two Little girls and their mom. The one little girl was 8 years old and the other one 10 years old. An interview is a special experience both for myself and the candidate because we both have the moment to testify. Firstly me of the choice that they have made. Secondly for them to testify of what they have learned from the missionaries. As I talked with these little girls I was amazed by the light and happiness that was contained within them. They were so excited to be baptized. As I asked them about certain principles it was amazing to listen to how they explained these gospel truths. The one little girl actually went on a about the importance of the sacrament and what that signifies for her. I was a little blown away. I then spoke to the mother and we talked about the decision she had made bringing her family into the gospel and what joy and harmony she will have in her life. At the end of the interview I just took a moment to congratulate her and bear my testimony. We all find great joy in helping others achieve this same goal we continue to strive for in the plan of salvation. There is something special about giving service. I read an interesting quotation this week that sums this up:

 “Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are
preparing to live in a better world. … When we are engaged in the
service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we
put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern
ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with
ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the
promise of Jesus that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves! [
Matthew 10:39.]

“Not only do we ‘find’ ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine
guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in
appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. … We
become more substantive as we serve others--indeed, it is easier to
‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!”

Moving to Tours, France 
At the end of September Nate was notified he would be transferring to the city of Tours to work as a Zone Leader.  He and his companion would be responsible for the missionaries in the areas of Tours, Alencon, Le Mans, Blois, Bourges and Orleans.  Tours is southwest of Paris and is described as: “A lively university town between France's Loire and Cher rivers. At the doorstep of Loire Valley chateaux, it’s the traditional base for exploring the region. The city's long history includes Gallic-Roman settlements and a role as the 15th-century French capital and seat of kings. It was heavily bombed in World War II, and its atmospheric center is now surrounded with modern towers.” 
Cathedral in Tours

A few experiences in Tours

We had quite the busy one traveling all over and preparing the theme for this transfer which is to look and live. Forgetting about yourself and actively doing things out of the love you  continue to acquire for him. Sometimes we have success in thoroughly understanding the love that God and his son have for us. The more difficult aspect is applying this into action. Casting out fear and forgetting about yourself. 

Anyway in arriving here in Tours this week Elder Beck and I had the chance to witness some pretty cool miracles. This week we taught one of our investigators Max. He has studied the church for over six years. He knows everything, like EVERYTHING but has a really hard time committing to be baptized.  He has a ton of friends that are Mormon and over the years missionaries have continually taught him lessons not addressing this issue of why he is not baptized. This week we went into the lesson with not a whole lot prepared and talked to him like a friend. Asking questions and understanding his ideas and opinions. These moments are when you know that you are guided by the spirit saying things that you are supposed to say.  We talked with him for an hour and a half like two friends that loved him and wanted the best for him. God helped us understand his needs and desires. At the end of the lesson he miraculously agreed to pray to know if he should be baptized on the 10 Oct. This was huge considering where we started. So we are hoping that he will find himself, that this day is the one for him. 

Transfer #9
This week we met one of the most interesting people I have met thus far on my mission. His name is Sebastian. He is a man that had studied the church for years as well. He met the missionaries and received the Book of Mormon. He read it multiple times trying to find a testimony. He approached us this week telling us that he is ready. That he has been praying to know if he needs to be baptized. He told us this week that he is ready. He wants to be baptized. That he is praying for us continually. Today he actually texted us saying he wants to get baptized on Tuesday. So we are looking forward to making that happen in the next 2 weeks. God continues to work miracles every day. Sometimes it is overwhelming how you see his hands direct our work and comfort the people that have a contrite spirit and a broken heart. A quote I really like says "Do not be ashamed of Christ or His gospel, and be willing to lay down cherished things, cherished relationships, and even life itself for Him. But while you live, let your life be an offering. Take up His cross  each day in obedience and service. These are the implications and the fruits of our faith" I really like that. It should be a fun week coming up. Lots of traveling and exchanges!

Another project that I have been working on a lot this week is a presentation I have to give at the next multi zone conference in Paris on mission dress and appearance. The goal is help missionaries understand the importance of appearance and the principle of physical communication. There is a lot of variety in dressing but President would like every missionary to be informed on this subject outlining appropriate clothes that we can wear and how important it is that we carry ourselves in a professional manner. It should be fun. Get to add in a little personal touch with style do’s and don'ts.  I made a pretty cool presentation showing how being obedient and dressing within the guidelines can be fun.

Zone Conference Presentation
We finished eating and started back to the train station. Our train was the last one of the day. We got there and it said the train was canceled. It was about 740 pm around this time. So we were in a little bit of a pickle with no trains and 4 sisters + 2 elders (Us) and nowhere to spend the night. We had only the material that was with us. We called president to inform him of the situation. We checked multiple ways of resolving the problem. It was impossible to do anything else but to book a hotel. So we headed to a hotel with us and the 4 sisters. Luckily they had space we bunked up for the night. One of the weirdest days ever. Staying in a hotel for the first time in a year. We all headed out the next morning around 7 am and it was all good beside the sisters not having their makeup haha.

This week we were back in Paris for our stake conference. We are in the Paris south stake so we spent the weekend in meetings and sessions. President Babin asked the zone leaders for the stake and the assistants to attend a ward mission leader training meeting. It was interesting participating in these kind of meeting as a missionary. President ran the meeting and really clarified the needs and action plans for our stake. During a question and answer session he made references to one of my favorite gospel truths. He said " there is a difference in-between what you know you need to do, and what you really do why?" Such a fundamental principle in the gospel but also in managing a professional organization. We can think about whatever we want, we can have all the faith in the world or the best intentions but that means nothing if it is not acted upon.

During this conference we received teachings from the assistants, President and Sister Babin and then respective zone leaders. One thing I found interesting was what the  assistants shared with us. They talked about learning by faith. As we exercise our faith we see the characteristics of real conversion take place. That is how we know it is real conversion. The critical piece in this equation is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the motivation force that pushes people to act on the faith and the spirit they feel.

Monday is P-day and it just so happened that I had a doctors appt in Paris on Tuesday morning. We left Monday around 12 on a train to spend P-day in Paris. We visited the Sacrée Cœur in Paris one of the oldest biggest churches on top of a giant hill looking over Paris. It was really fun. A ton of tourists getting money stolen and gypsy’s outsmarting people and stealing their wallets. Then police running down illegal African immigrants for selling little Effiel towers and Louis V and Channel bags, good old Paris. That night we paired up with the zone leaders in Torcy (Elder Johnson and Elder Martin) suburb in the north east of Paris to work.  Elder Martin is one of the few fully French and mandarin elders. Called to speak both languages. Serves most of his mission in Paris due to the high Chinese population. So Elder Martin and I had a lesson at a recent converts house. We were teaching a woman and her family. She had been baptized a couple months before but her two sons and husband were not members. They arrived from China just 10 months ago. Their French and English were not very good so I listened to a lot of Chinese. We ate with them and their family. My chopsticks skills held up well so all that practice at PF Changs paid off! It was very good traditional food. After which we taught the wife a lesson. The rest of the family were not completely interested. I never really understood how hard it is to support yourself as a single member of the church. She expressed to us that it is not easy. Living in a culture and house where religion is not logical. We shared a little message explaining how faith in Jesus Christ is the passport to peace after all the hardships and difficulties in this life. It is a role of each of us to continually grow this faith to have the right to utilize the power inside of it.

Last highlight here in Tours was that we did a cool Zone activity as a reward for the hard work of the Zone this transfer. This transfer we focused on three things through the 6 weeks. The physical, spiritual well-being of missionaries and their capacity to speak the language. So we had themes every week as well as little tasks. Week 2 was Spiritual,  had to write down how you saw the hand of God every day. On p-day write to the people you are most grateful for.  Week 3 was language, memorize three useful scripture mastery scriptures in French. Week 4 was Health, with a focus on buying healthy food and to go running every other day. Week 5 was to clean and make sure you keep a clean apartment the whole week. A place where the spirit can dwell. Week 6 was the surprise. This was the zone activity in Tours. We all went bowling and handed out prizes. It was super fun.  Pretty cool looking around and seeing all the missionaries smiling and have fun. That's what it's all about.

Overlooking Tours

Moving to Antony
Nate only spent 6 weeks in Tours as they made some changes in the mission.  The mission comprises of 14 area’s or Zones and there was a change where they will be making larger Zones and condensing to 7.  Nate was transferred to Antony as a Zone Leader in the Paris South Zone.  Antony is a French commune in the southern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 11.3 km from the center of Paris.  He served there with one of his good friends, Elder Wilson.  There will be 35+ missionaries in the Zone and a lot of work to do.  Nate was excited to go to Paris with one of his good friends.

A few experiences in Antony:

We left from Tours to Paris early Wed morning with 5 suitcases between us and had to get on and off trains through metros and crossing the oldest most complex train station in Paris.  A lot of fun!  We made it to this place in the very center of Paris where you come to pick up your new companion. So I said my goodbyes to Elder Beck because he was actually heading home. His parents were picking him up the next day. Soon after I found my new comp Elder Wilson, we were in the MTC together and are great friends. We share a lot of the same vision and desire and this week came to find out that was still true. So we got out navigos, which just means a huge metro and ReR train pass that basically lets us go anywhere in Paris and we headed back to the apartment.  We live a 20 min subway ride away from the center of Paris. The sector in which we work covers a lot of southern Paris including the Tower of Mont Parnasse and a pretty spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. Pretty cool.

The Louvre 
At the beginning of every transfer we have mission council. An afternoon of meetings held in Paris in which the transfer goals and theme are presented by the President and his Assistants to the Zone Leaders. We take this information and present it to the district leaders to use as the core of their training for this transfer. We talked a lot about a couple questions that President asked us, this helps prepare us to train the District Leaders.

We had some other interesting new experiences this week as well. A really unique experience we had involved working shifts in a church visitors center in the center of Paris. The church's 2nd most expensive property in the world, the chapel St. Merri is attached to the visitors center. We go Tuesday afternoon and Friday nights with the doors open inviting people for tours off the street. Elder Wilson sits at the piano while I greet people at the door. It's so cool to see people come in and talk. People from all of the world come in and want to learn. Really unique experience. I taught an Asian women a French guy and a man from Tunisia who said he is coming to church. All in a day's work. Couldn't feel more thankful right now. I have an amazing companion. We have fun every day. Feels good to wake up with a smile and to get out on the street. The mission is awesome. Paris is beautiful.

Mission Council
This week was the most hectic of the transfer for Elder Wilson and I. We had been asked to attend all of the district meetings in the zone . So we went to all 4. The first two were held in Paris at the Marias. The other ones were held in the cities of Orleans and Le Mans both south of Paris. We also stopped in the various cities of Evry, Melun and Tours for meetings and exchanges. It was a lot of traveling but a lot of fun. To interact and hangout with different missionary's as well as doing exchanges with them.

On Saturday night I had an experience I will not forget. We got invited over to eat by a recent convert in the ward. He was baptized maybe 5 months ago. His name is Christian and he is about 50. He was born in the Paris region and had grown up there his whole life. He had kindly prepared one of the most elegant French meals I have ever tasted. First we started with some chips, olives and nuts washed down with some sparking lemonade, grenadine juice and sparking water. Then we moved on to the baguettes, duck pate and endive salad.  Then came the main course, an oven roasted chicken with traditional potato French fries with some spicy Dijon mustard. Then came the cheese and more bread. For desert we finished with chocolate mousse and a traditional flaky creamy apple tart.  I can't tell you how good this was. To make it better in the ambiance of Edif Phiaf (which he insisted we listen to haha). I could glance over to my left out the window I could see the sparkly large Eiffel tower followed by countless buildings. Somewhat of a spectacular scene. So cliché but "la vie est belle". It was a great night spent with some amazing people. Elder Wilson and I walked out of the apartment in a trance.  Among the smell, people, rain and transportation there is something magic about this city that's hard to explain.

Nate and Elder Wilson

Another one of our amis is Sophie. She is about 45 and the Elders have been teaching her for 2 years.  When Elder Wilson and I arrived we had no idea how to help her. We quickly realized that we needed to be taking a different approach. So we started making appointments fun and spiritual. Slowly she has been committing to make bigger steps in becoming a member. She even brought a friend to church and explained to us exactly how God had responded to her prayer. I am really hoping that all will go well. That we can really help her. You develop a love for the people you teach besides the problems and difficulties that arise. You want the best for them and are willing to spend so much time and effort to make them happy.  Had a good day at Roland Garros. Nothing Better than Autumn in Paris...

Terror Attacks in Paris
Elder Wilson and I had a pretty normal day.  We went out and did some contacting and had a rdv in the afternoon. In the evening just so happens that we had a shift at the visitors center that night. We arrived around 5pm and our shift was till 8pm. We finished our shift at 8 but had to finish something on the computer. We finished it fairly quickly and felt like we needed to head straight home. So we got on the ReR train and headed home. The area of the visitors center was attacked about 45 minutes later. There was a restaurant shooting about a 5 min walk away from where we were. Elder Wilson and I had no idea of what happened.  We went to bed sleeping well. We actually kept our phone on silent but woke up to about 17 missed calls and maybe 10 text messages. We had no idea what had gone on. We called some other Paris zone leaders and they filled us in. Soon after we confirmed with them that all the missionaries were safe and accounted for. Which they were.  There were actually missionaries living in the parts of Paris that were attacked.

Last week in Antony – Moving to Versailles
President gave us a call around 8:30 Saturday morning to confirm that everyone was accounted for and safe. We confirmed with him that all was good. He said he was going to call an emergency conference call at 10:00 to go over the precautions. We were not allowed to go out Saturday and Sunday just to be safe. President then asked  if I would come to the office in Versailles and serve as an assistant.  I was a little shocked I said I would gladly accept. The next transfer starts in a week and a half but I had to leave right away to get the necessary training from elder Amaya who I would be replacing and to participate in the transfer decision meetings. I was a little shocked by all the changes, after that....lets just say I wasn't very hungry the rest of the day. Interesting time to be called when France is in a state of crisis. I feel pretty blessed and thankful for the chance to serve, learn and grow alongside President Babin and his wife. My new companion is Elder Lattin who is from DC.  We get along really well and will have fun over the next transfer.
Transfer #10

Versailles is a city in the Yvelines département in Île-de-France region, renowned worldwide for its château, the Château de Versailles and the gardens of Versailles, designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Nate has been serving in Versailles since the end of November as an Assistant to the Mission President.  His companion just went home this week and will now has a new companion. 

Versailles Gardens
Few updates from Versailles
Had a lot of work to do leading up to the transfers and changes in the mission as well as all the precautions of safety we have to take concerning the three countries in our mission and the missionaries that live there. Belgium is still a complicated situation and we have been talking with the zone leaders often as well as president to insure the missionaries safety.

Besides that this week on Wednesday and Thursday we had quite intensive meetings for transfers. Fasting and praying to know exactly at what point we needed to change people and move cities. We actually on Wednesday had a meeting that was almost 7 hours long. You start to really care and worry for missionaries. In the last week and a half I have really thought a lot about success and the satisfaction of fulfilling our purpose as missionaries to invite others to come unto Christ. At this moment serving as an assistant our purpose is a little different. I am very grateful to have the chance to serve and help other missionaries. Charity is most certainly a characteristic I have come to better understand. Really forgetting yourself and serving others is when we find the most joy. Spending time buying over 250 online train tickets and staring at a computer for hours on end, you find a joy when you are serving others. The couples that we work with in the office are great example of that. There are about 5 that work here with us. It's nice hanging out with wise old people.

Quick Trip to Utah
Nate had to get back to Utah to take care of some immigration work so he would be able to get back into the US when he finishes his mission.  So he had some time back on US soil and less than a week later was back in France.

Nate at the Versailles Gardens

Back in Versailles 
Well. Where to start with this week. Full of new adventures and lack of sleep.  We had our mission conference call held from Versailles then we had a couple meetings after. This transfer we have a lot of missionaries going home early for Christmas so we had to make plans to accommodate their post in the mission wherever they might have been serving. We then headed in to Paris, a short 30 min metro ride to the biggest corporate  business sector called La Defense. Also happens to be where the only Chipotle is! We had a district burrito lunch and then headed back to the office. That night we had a family home evening as the bishops house with a less active man in the ward. The ward mission leader had been encouraging us to leave a "personal touch"  with the members when we go by their houses. Helping them to remember who we are and to make our personalities known. So that day I had actually printed off some larger photos from a store and had them in my bag. There was a really cool black and white photo that I had taken of the Arc de Triomphe.  We kind of forgot until we got there that we had to leave them with  a personal touch so we got out the photo and wrote a nice note on the back thanking them for having us over and letting us teach the gospel in their beautiful country then left it on the front table.  They saw it as we left and thanked us enormously for the gift. They said for sure it would go up in their house. We thought that was kind of cool. The membership in the ward is so great and are so friendly. We have 2 Canadian families and 6 American families. The rest are French and Latin based. Makesfor a really cool dynamic.  On Tuesday we had an exchange with some zone leaders and in Amiens. A decent sized French city in the north of Paris. We actually drove the car instead of taking the train which was nice. The French countryside is beautiful minus the crazy tricky toll roads. It was nice because we could work and talk in the car. We wish we could do that more often but we would be driving 3-6 hours to get places. The trains go 300 km/h so it gets us there a lot quicker. The exchange was really good. Elder Smith and I got some good teaching opportunities.
When exchanges are done right it is a really good chance to learn from others. There is no one right way to do missionary work. Watching others missionaries helps you to become better and develop new ideas.

On Wednesday we started early at 4:00 in the morning. The day before was the same up early.  We went and retrieved two sisters at the train station in Paris.  Then brought them to the office to have their parting interviews. So at 4:00 the next day we went to pick them up at the mission home and we started off to our third home outside of our apartment and the office, the airport Charles de Gaulle. We help them to check in and then headed back to our apartment. It's about 1 hour drive across Paris. A lot of good bonding time for Elder Lattin and I. Later that day we had another exchange with the zone leaders in Paris. We worked a lot that day on showing the new Christmas video "un sauver est né". We got to share the special spirit of Christmas with multiple people inviting them to the huge Christmas concert that we are having in our ward on Sunday for the whole Paris stake. It was really fun to share something that everyone can relate to in one way or another, not the getting but the giving, loving, spiritual feelings of Christmas.

Arc de Triomphe

So this week we wrapped up all the Christmas activities with our last zone Christmas conferences. We had the last two this week. On Tuesday we had the zones of Paris and East Paris. It was really good. I played the guitar with some sisters for this Spanish children's song. It was fun. Sounded really cool too. Besides that the majority of the conference was done by the senior couples that we work with in the office. They presented different topics or presentations. It was really good.  All the Zones were able to come into Paris and there were a number of great musical numbers.  We also received our Christmas packages and letters from our families.

Two Zones at the Christmas Party - Nate is in the front row
On Christmas Eve we were invited to a members home and had a very French traditional dinner. The appetizer was 8 giant oysters and they were so good followed with different seafood dishes. Then the main course was duck, cooked in the only acceptable French manner which was very pink. Something I have come to like more and more. We ate that with potatoes and salad. It was so good. They had a little evening program while we were there. I played the guitar and we both sang a White Christmas. Lots of kids and energy. We had to be home by 10:30 that night because that was the special exception for Christmas and we had a present on behalf of the mission that we had to deliver to President and Sister Babin before Christmas morning. So we texted President before we went to our dinner appointment and ask if we could come by that night around 10:25. Just enough time to get home. His response was "actually we will be at Bishop Gerald Causée house so if you just want to stop by his place around 10:30 that would be perfect". We were a little shocked at the invitation but we said hey why not. So we got out of our dinner appointment about 10:00 and headed over to his house. We rang the doorbell and his wife let us in the gate. We walked into the house to find the Presiding Bishop of the church sitting at the piano giving a Christmas spiritual thought to about 40 members of his family including our mission president and his wife who are in-laws.  We arrived found our chairs and got to listen for 10 or 15 minutes.  Then at the conclusion of the spiritual thought we were asked to introduce ourselves. We did just that and then gave the present to Sister and President Babin. After which the family proposed that they sing us a song because we as missionaries sing all the time for people which is somewhat true. So Bishop Causée turned around to the piano and started playing, after which the family started in unison singing one of the coolest touching French Christmas songs I have ever heard. Elder Lattin and myself were a little star struck.  They finished the song and we talked for a while. They have an extremely warm loving family. I don't think I will ever forget the spirit of Christmas, but more importantly the spirit of Christ that I felt in their home this season.  Over this Christmas season  I feel especially grateful for the all the blessings that I have received for myself and my family. When we serve him and love him we see more clearly his hand in our life. Over this past year I have learned an enormous amount of things about myself and our savior. Wouldn't take any of it back.

11th Transfer (16th is when you go home)

Monday, 17 August 2015

The one year mark from Nantes, France!

Visit to the Cathedral in Nantes, France

It has been a few months since we have updated Nate’s blog and have captured some highlights below.  Nate is now at his one year mark where he was in Belgium for the first half of the year and has been in Nantes, France on the west coast for the past 5 months.  He continues to enjoy and embrace the experience serving others.

8th Transfer = 1 year!

Early in the week we fixed an appointment with this really nice guy whose name is Happy in English. He told us to meet him in the center of the city around 10am.  We soon came to realize that he is working,  handing out flyers and free little sim cards on the street. So he told us "Quick I am working so we have to go somewhere were my boss won’t find me.”  He is one of those guys who is everyone’s friend. He takes us on this little maze of streets and alleys until we get to this barber shop. It’s really an African hangout!  It was packed and we couldn't get in the door. It was kind of crazy with big wigs and people yelling and laughing and there we are, two little white kids. Side note -  we were also a crowd favorite because we had a tag on that said Jesus Christ. So we eventually are outside on the street and started teaching him when his boss walks down the street. We got out the prayer and like two sentences and he had to get back to work.  The bright side is we got like 3 phone numbers from other People while we were sitting there. We actually saw a member too. We got up after and left. We said goodbye 35 min later. Interesting start to the day. Just a little day in the life of a missionary!

We have been working hard this week looking at different ways to find people. I actually contacted three or four people this week by looking at them and smiling when we are waiting on the street for appts. They look at me so then I talk to them!  I bet they regret looking at me but I’ll talk to them if they do and a lot of people look at us.  On the metros we are looked at all of the time and it’s actually the best place to find people because they can’t go anywhere. One day this week we took our dinner break just contacting people on the trams because we weren't hungry. It’s interesting how mentality I have changed on my mission. At the beginning I motivated myself to find the will to talk to people all the time. But the more I have fun the more I want to do it and sometimes I wish we just worked on P-Day as well, you stay focused all the time. 

German built submarine bunker in the Harbor - Nantes, France

We had the opportunity to meet with this young adult in the ward. He is the only member in his family and is a convert of 5 years. He is seriously considering going on a we were mission. So we said we would meet with him and help him prepare. It was a cool realization while talking to him about how my mission has changed me. How I have grown closer to Heavenly Father and his gospel.  The decision of serving a mission was the best I had ever made in my life.  Getting rid of the distractions of the world helps you to focus on the important blessings you have as well as how you can help others have this same happiness. It was pretty hard to summarize the magnitude and effect a mission has had on me but it was a super cool time we had to talk with him and we are going to start meeting with him once a week to study preach my gospel and start his papers. 

I had the cool experience of going on an exchange with my trainer Elder Bailey. He is actually my zone leader now and he came to a district meeting in Nantes. He ended up just staying for the day and working with me in Nantes. It was such a cool experience to work with him again because we lived and worked together for 5 months. You have a special relationship with your trainer. It was amazing to see how much we had both have grown and talked about how we were thankful to be together and all the things that we learned from each other.

I had a couple really cool experiences in the past two weeks. One of them was while we were out on the coast. We prepared all our stuff in the morning to go and headed out and I got a bunch of Book of Mormons and stuff that we needed and we left. For some reason I brought an English Book of Mormon and I never do that.  We visited less actives and members and taught lessons on the street all day and was a really amazing. I got to give out two Books of Mormons which does not happen too often and by the end of the day we were so tired. I still had this English book with me and wasn’t sure why I had it. Then on the metro we were contacting and almost at home and I started talking to this guy who ended up speaking English. He was so cool and super interested. BY CHANCE he wanted a Book of Mormon after I taught him about it and I had one to give!  I didn’t find out until  9 o’clock why I had it. Pretty cool little Miracle and funny enough I finished the book the same week. It was reaffirming to my testimony of how this book that has changed my life.

Cathedral - Nantes
We also found a new Family this week! A small family from Ghana. Moses and his wife and three little kids. It was so cool. We taught the restoration to them and they understood it really well. We teach that so much and I never get tired of it. Reciting the first vision is so refreshing. I thought about if I was repeating a couple sentences normally over and over and over how boring it would be. When you recite the first vision there is power in the words, we recite it a lot. The words invoke the spirit and something special in you and others. It is special. I feel the confirmation of this so often and I know that the people that we teach feel it because it is a promise of the spirit. It will always bear testimony of the truth.
We are having a lot of fun and a lot of success here in Nantes the Lord is really blessing us and helping us in every aspect of our work. Although we did get approached/yelled at like 15 times in one day. I think that was a record, one drunk homeless men tried to take my badge this week. Had to give him a little nudge. All in the life.

Streets of Nantes

We were at a metro stop with a less active member that we were walking home from church with. He is from Togo but when he was 18 he came to Europe to play for the professional Berlin soccer team. He played for 15 years and was amazing and all of a sudden he had a stroke and half of his body got paralyzed. Long story short he ended up in France, Nantes more specifically. He met the missionaries here and got baptized. He walks really slow with a cane and that is why we were walking him home. We were just doing a simple act of service. So like I said, we were at this stop and this women walks up to us and says hello. It ended up that is was a girl that lived in the same building as Koffi. She saw us and our badges and asked who we were. She ended up being Christian and said she was looking for a church. Without even asking her she said. Ok I will come to church and pray with you guys on Sunday. I will pick up my neighbor Koffi and bring him. So sure enough this lady has come to church two weeks in a row and she loves it. It was after 5 weeks of not having someone there that you get a blessing like that which is pretty special. We just happened to be doing the right thing at the right time. I know and have learned if we do that we will be blessed. We have now had like 3 people there the past week or two!

The second experience I had is somewhat similar. This week was an amazing week. I had received news that a Boy that I taught for the first 6 months of my mission got baptized. We put in so much time, effort and love into this family. Going there twice or three times a week. This family was inactive for 30 YEARS and had lost hope. The problems that they had to overcome were immense and they felt like there was no possibility of changing. I prayed every day for this family as well for myself to see them as Heavenly Father sees them and the potential they have and how cherished they are. The joy is so unexplainable to see how through the atonement of Jesus-Christ they changed. They are new people. They have started fresh in working to be an eternal family forever, the greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has given us. I love these people because I care about them. They are so amazing and I will never forget the special experiences I had with them. These people have changed who I am and I am eternally grateful for that. I know that this joy did not come right away but as we continued to do what we knew the Lord would have us do we were blessed and so was this family! Love you guys hope you have an amazing week!
The second day we had it we deciding to do some contacting in the park. A really nice park in a nice part of Nantes. We saw this maybe 70 year old lady sitting on a bench. We approached her and asked if we could sit down and show her a video about a man that had changed our lives. We showed her a video about Jesus Christ called "Because of him" the impact was amazing  We got to sit down for 20 minutes and talk to this women that would of normally not of been too interested. We testified of our Savior and his atoning sacrifice. How much the Lord loves us, giving his son so that we can return and live with him after this life. This lady was blown away and was so happy she had the chance to talk with us. She was touched and really respected us for what we do and how we try to help people. For me it was a little experience and miracle of how the lord prepares both people and the world we live in for great things to come to pass. This happened several times this week. I feel extremely lucky and blessed to be able to use this extraordinary tool in missionary work. 

Elder Carson and Elder McBride

I would like to share a modern-day parable that I will call “The Parable of the Oranges.” As you listen, consider what this story teaches you about the power of real intent.

There was a young man who had ambitions to work for a company because it paid very well and was very prestigious. He prepared his résumé and had several interviews. Eventually, he was given an entry-level position. Then he turned his ambition to his next goal—a supervisor position that would afford him even greater prestige and more pay. So he completed the tasks he was given. He came in early some mornings and stayed late so the boss would see him putting in long hours.
After five years a supervisor position became available. But, to the young man’s great dismay, another employee, who had only worked for the company for six months, was given the promotion. The young man was very angry, and he went to his boss and demanded an explanation.
The wise boss said, “Before I answer your questions, would you do a favor for me?”
“Yes, sure,” said the employee.
“Would you go to the store and buy some oranges? My wife needs them.”
The young man agreed and went to the store. When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”
“I don’t know,” the young man answered. “You just said to buy oranges, and these are oranges. Here they are.”
“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.
“Well, I’m not sure,” was the reply. “You gave me $30. Here is your receipt, and here is your change.”
“Thank you,” said the boss. “Now, please have a seat and pay careful attention.”
Then the boss called in the employee who had received the promotion and asked him to do the same job. He readily agreed and went to the store.
When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”
“Well,” he replied, “the store had many varieties—there were navel oranges, Valencia oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, and many others, and I didn’t know which kind to buy. But I remembered you said your wife needed the oranges, so I called her. She said she was having a party and that she was going to make orange juice. So I asked the grocer which of all these oranges would make the best orange juice. He said the Valencia orange was full of very sweet juice, so that’s what I bought. I dropped them by your home on my way back to the office. Your wife was very pleased.”
“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.
“Well, that was another problem. I didn’t know how many to buy, so I once again called your wife and asked her how many guests she was expecting. She said 20. I asked the grocer how many oranges would be needed to make juice for 20 people, and it was a lot. So, I asked the grocer if he could give me a quantity discount, and he did! These oranges normally cost 75 cents each, but I paid only 50 cents. Here is your change and the receipt.”
The boss smiled and said, “Thank you; you may go.”
He looked over at the young man who had been watching. The young man stood up, slumped his shoulders and said, “I see what you mean,” as he walked dejectedly out of the office.
What was the difference between these two young men? They were both asked to buy oranges, and they did. You might say that one went the extra mile, or one was more efficient, or one paid more attention to detail. But the most important difference had to do with real intent rather than just going through the motions. The first young man was motivated by money, position, and prestige. The second young man was driven by an intense desire to please his employer and an inner commitment to be the best employee he could possibly be—and the outcome was obvious.

How can you apply this parable in your lives? How might your efforts in your family, at school, at work, and in the Church be different if you always sought to please God and do His will, motivated by your love for Him?"

Elder Carson and I had some interesting experiences this week. We were trying our hardest to find and teach people. We were getting yelled at and stared at all day and getting rejected. All the appointments we had were falling through. We really didn't know what to do. So after dinner we had 2 hours to work and I was praying all day that it would turn around. We decided that we were going to go and knock on some houses and we had no idea where to go so we offered a prayer and simply asked for help. Ten minutes later in the first building we went into, a young Muslim family lets us in and we taught them about Christ and testified of his realness and divinity as the son of God and it was a special moment in which, I felt the spirit very strongly.  So we moved on with the night to another building and got let in and taught some African men. Then we contacted some people on the way home that were interested. We found 4 new people and taught 3 lessons in the span of 2 hours. An testimony of the Lord’s hand leading and guiding our work.

This week we had a couple special experiences with a kid who's name is Dejince who is 11 years old. His family is less active but the few times we have talked to him at church he has expressed a large desire to be baptized. So we went to his house to teach him this week and we taught him the plan of salvation with this little puzzle. There is nothing more priceless when an 11 year old kid bears his testimony of the desire he has to go to the celestial kingdom with his family. He said that he just wants to be happy and feel the spirit but he doesn't know how. He has such a desire to know God but is a little bit lost. We taught him how he can pray and receive an answer from the spirit. He was so thrilled knowing that its possible. He kept on saying “OH OH I REALLY WANT GOD TO RESPOND I HOPE HE DOES!” So funny. The spiritual light and motivation in this kid has is unbelievable. He knows that God has created a plan for him and he is going to do anything he can fulfill it. His circumstances are not the easiest with 4 little brothers that he has to babysit a lot because his parents work. I have a ton of faith that he will be an amazing disciple of Christ. His will is so strong.

Coast of France
Rarely people find this spiritual light from God waiting in the darkness. It takes an act of faith for us to arise and act on whatever little sign God is giving us. He often nurtures the questioning soul giving them what he knows they need. It was so refreshing being able to teach this wonderful kid this week because a lot of the people here don't see the darkness around them. They don't know that they are in need of the necessary rescue and relief that comes from the Savior. I have come to love the people here in France and have realized that our biggest mission is finding these prepared souls who have acted on a small particle of faith. That's the goal every week!

We had a lesson with a man Named Sergi this week who is Muslim and most days we talk with more Muslim people than Christians. They are very difficult to teach as they are very firm in what they believe.  We had been meeting with him for a couple months on and off and this RDV we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ with the key point of Jesus being the Son of God accomplishing the atonement (they don’t believe that). I was able to testify of the special nature of Jesus Christ and that his atoning sacrifice was real. That he is the only person that can forgive when others can’t. That I know that his love and pardon is real, and that we all have the possibility to change and become someone better through him. That he lives today. That this was not something I was born with. It was something that I asked God to know. That if I didn't know it was true with all my heart I wouldn't be here. Why would I waste my time? Leaving everything I have for two years. He was taken back and thinking about what I said and the spirit that was touching him which I felt the spirit overwhelmingly during the lesson. The way the spirit works is that is just doesn't come for the sake of comforting myself or my companion but testifies of the truth to our investigator. We are just there and so happen to be lucky to feel it as well. He then went on explaining that during the last lessons including this most recent he was asking himself questions like what if this is true? What does that change?  Already this is monumental for him to be thinking like that. It is not an option to convert to another religion if you are Muslim.  We boldly invited him to ask God to show him the truth because if he does we know that he will receive an answer. He accepted for the first time in weeks and I was pretty surprised but very happy and will see what happens. Side note: the love that you acquire for the people you teach is immense. As well as sharing and celebrating the small victories in France. 

We met a younger mother with 2 little boys this week and she is so nice. We met on the street a couple weeks ago but never had the time to fix another appt. So this week finally got to go over with this other oung adult in the ward and teach them. It was such an amazing lesson and we felt like we should teach the Plan of salvation so we did. She opened up about how she had a lot of trials in her life with an abusive husband and having to flee to the other side of France to get away. She was so loving and grateful for what she has and also had a really hard life growing up in West Africa. She knows that it is all thanks to God that she is where she is right now with her family and she loved the Plan of Salvation and found it so much clearer than other teachings. After the lesson she explained more about her son’s birthday on Monday and that because her husband goes out and spends all their money on beer and other terrible things she has nothing to give him. I thought for a second about how lucky I was. How there are little kids on their birthday that wake up with nothing. I was devastated. How could that be fair? Earlier today I went to this soccer store and picked up a soccer ball. Something as small as that, I am sure will make him smile. This 6 year old kid that has nothing. It is amazing the different ways that you can feel the love of our Heavenly Father for you and for all of his children. How he cares for every single one of us.  We are going to work over in their Cartier and drop that off tonight. Should be fun! 

Last week we had an appt that was pretty far away and the guy confirmed and said it was good but long story short he never came. So we were kind of bummed and we ended up contacting as we were already there. We contacted  3 people because that is all we had the time for and one of them was this African lady sitting in the park with one of her kids sleeping on her shoulder. We talked with her and took her number and headed home. We called her this week and were lucky to meet with her. Personally I really had no idea what to expect, where she lived, what she was like or what we were even going to talk about. We started talking about how she believes in God and how she has seen his hand in her life. Immediately following she went on talking about how she know God. She explained that she grew up in central Africa. She experienced things in her life growing up in this country that others could not even imagine. She regularly saw dead bodies in her neighborhood, people sick and hungry. She then explained that when she was younger that a mob/army raided her village and her sister was killed in front of her. She saw and experienced things unbelievably difficult and lost everything as well as her family. Right now she has two kids and a husband, a small little amazing family given to her by God. She knows that by his grace she is still alive. She expressed that she didn’t know why she was still here on earth and what her purpose was. We then taught her the plan of salvation, the perfect plan that gives us the chance to know why? Why this? Why that? Why now?  It answers all possible questions and she loved it and said she would love to come to church. I am so thankful that I have the ability to meet all kinds of God's children. It is amazing the vast extents of this world that God has created for us. Often we don’t understand why jobs and countries and freedoms vary so much. That is why it is so crucially essential to know that God loves you and has created a perfect plan for you; That he gave his only begotten son as a gift and the steps to return and live with him after we are done in this crazy life. 

Nate and his trainer Elder Bailey who was his Zone Leader at this time

 After church we went with the sisters to pass over an ami that we had found and taught a couple times. She had a very interesting story scattered with unbelievable trials as well.  It was the second time we taught her and we were going to finish the Plan of Salvation. We started the lesson with a hymn which is never a bad idea when you teach with sisters ha-ha. We went on with the prayer and taught the lesson and she took everything really well and was very intrigued. Near the end of the lesson we had a puzzle of the plan out on the table and we got to the celestial kingdom explaining that this is the only place that we can live with our family for eternity, in a state of never ending happiness. She thought about that and started to break down and cry. She explained there was no greater desire than to live with her family together forever. She said that she knew without a doubt that the plan was true and that it had a familiar ring to it. Like she already knew that it was right even though it was the first time(in this life). Funny how people say that. Like they already excepted the plan or something?  She said that she would like to be baptized after she has learned all that she needs to. So that was a big step. 

Right after that appt the sisters said there was an older less active women that lived nearby. We decided that we should go and sing for her. She was there and opened up the door. let us In and we began to sing. We sang Scattered Sunshine which is 10 times better in French and she said that it literally healed her soul. As we were leaving almost out the door I told her if there is anything she ever needs from us to call us. She all of a sudden broke down and thanked us for what we do. She asked for a blessing so I gave her a blessing. She was so thankful that we were able to fill her home with the spirit and as we left she couldn't contain her smile. Plus she gave us a cold juice box on the way out. Bonus. Older Ladies are so nice. 

6th Transfer!

Friday, 8 May 2015

9 Months!

March 30

Thank you for all your emails this week! I had a good week with many great experiences! I just want to share a couple because I don’t have a ton of time.

We were out contacting people in a park close to our house, the weather was not very good, lots of rain and wind. We had been out for about an hour and a half when we decided that we would head back in for lunch. While we were walking back through the park we saw this women, I am guessing she was maybe 24-25 standing on a hill with her hood up. We said hello and as she turned around we could tell she was in some kind of distress. We told her that we are missionaries and that God loves her and that he has created a perfect plan for her to be happy. She didn’t really say much but was just sobbing. We simply asked if there was anything we could do for her or help her?  She started crying as she explained things that happened in her life. We taught her that there is a way for us to overcome the trials and hard things in life. She took our card and told us that she would call us. She walked away not crying but with a smile. She has not called us and she probably won’t. But she felt something and walked away knowing a lot more and feeling a lot better. Everyday is made up of little special experiences like this, which make it all worth it.


Another cool experience that we had was with one of our Ami’s. She came to church yesterday and loved it. She said that she felt something good and different at church. She has been reading her Book of Mormon and loves it and has expressed many times that she knows it is true.  Yesterday we went over to her place to teach her a lesson that went really well. At the end before she said the closing prayer she told us "You know what, I know what you are teaching me is true, I know your church is true, I trust you and I don’t know exactly why I do as I never trust people, I don’t even trust my good friends, it bugs me! “ (She said that in a funny way). ”There is something different about you and I feel it when I am with you or at church, I want to get baptized sooner".  We are just as excited as she is for that and should be a really special day. We explained that it’s the spirit that she is feeling; it is Gods love for her that put us in her path.  She was overwhelmed by the spirit; I have never seen someone feel the spirit so strongly.  She just couldn’t speak, I can’t really describe how cool it is to experience things like this, makes you just feel happy.

 April 6th

I don't really know where to start with all that has happened this week, so I will share some experiences that were the most vivid. 

All of our Amis are doing really well. We saw the student from China, the student from France and the mother from Haiti along with lots of others. They are all progressing really well. The 2 students watched General Conference and loved it.  We started teaching a new student this week after knocking on her door.  She is a devoted catholic and actually is considering becoming a Nun and devoting her life to God in a little different way. You will often see as you are walking down the street in the morning, women who look like Maria from the Sound of Music on their bike’s heading down to the Abbey. She was really interested in why we have a “spark” and how and why we share that with others. She invited us back because she felt something different.  

Cathedral in Nantes
We taught a Russian guy this week half in English and half in French. He is the coolest Russian in the world. He lived near some missionaries in Moscow. He is young and his family owns a bunch of real estate in Moscow but moves around a lot. He has been the first person I could talk to ON MY WHOLE MISSION ABOUT HOCKEY. It tested my memory of Russian superstars present and from the past.   He was so excited when I told him that I have actually met Ovechkin!  He was all up in arms, “WHAT REALLY”? In his thick Russian accent.  After that we ended up having a really cool spiritual conversation and he is totally ready to learn about the Gospel! 

 Samedi Sports at the Church with the Young Adults
This week we started something called “Samedi Sports.” It is where all the youth and young adults come and play soccer with all our Amis. It’s a great opportunity for the members to bring their friends as well.  We had a great turn out and got to meet a lot of new people. It was interesting calling for the ball in French, haven’t done that before.   We are hoping to have some new people to teach as a result of the activity. The young adults are so awesome in this ward; they come teach with us all the time as we are teaching a lot of young people.  When the young members bear their testimony, the students we teach can really relate as they struggle with many of the same things. This allows them to connect in a way that we can’t.

Reading a little French History in Chateau Duke de Bretagne -  Nantes
So I also wrote down some random events from this week that you might find interesting to illustrate the diversity here in France. In the span of one day I talked to a French Diplomat who hated France, a hipster bus driver who had a really cool beard and whose sister lives in San Francisco, an Environmental Politician that wanted to move to Canada, a Russian student, an American student, and a young family from Africa. Never dull here! Additionally we got sworn at from and window of a house which was just weird because it was in English. I have not heard those words in a long time.  Anyway it was a really cool week, always physically tiring but never tired of seeing how the Lord works his miracles! 

I also wanted to share a quote that I found very inspiring at this time of year celebrating Easter. This is something I have come to know is true with all my heart. 

"A cause de lui la culpabilité devient la paix , le regret devient relief, le désespoir devient espoir. Grâce à lui, nous avons une seconde chance, ardoises propres, de nouveaux commencements. Il ya pas de fin à cause de lui".

"Because of him guilt becomes peace, regret becomes relief, despair becomes hope. Because of him we have second chances, clean slates, and new beginnings. There is no end because of him"

Love you guys, have a great week.

April 13th

Hi! Thanks for all your emails this week. I had a great week here in Nantes. The sun actually came out so that was great. It has been sunny and hot here almost all week. I thought I would just share a couple of the special experiences I had this week.

Taking in the sites on a sunny day. Top of Nantes

We have been working on the way we contact people on the street right now. It is not always easy just to stop people and talk to them on the spot. They are usually smart or rude about it or just don't have time. So I have tried to have fun with that in a loving way of course. I have thought of comebacks before I go out to combat this a little. It kind of reminds me of I used to “trash talk” when I used to play hockey, but this is just a lot more friendly of course.   When you are bold and funny people will listen here. We actually had this history professor stop and talk with us. She initially was very defensive on the subject and idea of religion. Anyway she started going off about random ideas saying that she knows everything about our church. She had been shutting out spiritual experiences for years looking for materials in books or theories that proved religion wrong. After our discussion she said “You know what I think your right! “ She said that she was going to a council of Professor’s and that she was going to bring this up to them that in life balance is important. We need to have a healthy open perspective.  French people can be abrupt on the outside, more often then not, they are nice and open after you get through the “thicker skin”.  Seems after you make a smart comment or show a quick whit they respect you. This is not to say everyday is not absolutely humbling!

Oh Nate ( his Mom)

We also had the chance to teach our friend from China this week. Just to fill you in when we started he didn’t know who God was. He knew nothing about religion because he is from controlled China. We have made a ton of progress.  He now knows who God is, he is praying, understanding our message and feels a change in himself, “It just feels good.” It is an amazing feeling when you are feeling it and so is the Ami, really cool experience. He actually came to church the next day and had a great experience.  He has gone from a guy who was completely non-believing in EVERYWAY to the opposite. Funny how the spirit changes people.

Cool Art in Park - Nantes
So the work is going really well as is the time. Been out for almost 8 months, wow. Love all you guys have a good week!

April 20th

Hello Everyone! Hope you all had a great week!

This week I will start off sharing some experiences I had from an exchange with another Elder here in Nantes, Elder Young from New Hampshire. He is a super cool guy and we get along really well. He did 2 years at BYU prior to the mission and has been in the field for 6 weeks. We didn't have a ton planned for the day so we made some goals and headed out to find some people. The day started on a weird note as a drunk guy offered Elder Young a Bra, he didn't really understand what was going on so that was pretty funny (we tend to attract unique people). Throughout the day we contacted a lot of people. We started talking to this older Catholic lady and she would not stop to talk, so we ended up walking 7 blocks with her. She enjoyed talking with us, said we made her afternoon, and made her little afternoon walk spiritual.  Fun even though she didn't walk very quickly.
We ended up contacting 5 people and found two new families to start teaching. So that was really amazing, doesn’t happen everyday!

Chateau Duke de Bretagne Nantes

We had another really cool experience on our way to the church as we had a lesson there. We were almost there when I made eye contact with this 25 yr. old guy just hanging out on the street. Almost naturally I just said hello like we had met before. (That happens a lot when you talk to so many people a day, they just come up to you and say hi and you have no idea who they are). He took his headphones off and said hello. He said he was waiting for us as he had seen us before, kind of interesting. He is Muslim, he said he feels a little lost and doesn’t really know where to put his faith. We taught him a little bit right there about us and our church. He was super interested. We have met with him couple of times now.  He has taken it all in and loved it.  This all was because of the little prompting I had to just say hi and stop. It’s the little things that count. In a nutshell that is the mission, it’s 2 years of tiny decisions.

Inside the Chateau
Other than that we taught our 2 Amis, the students who are progressing well. We finished the lessons with the French student and we are preparing her to be baptized May 2nd. She came to the Samedi sports activity where we played Basketball and Ultimate Frisbee at the church.

"On Top of the World" - I love France!!

I just wanted to share two other funny experiences I had this week. The first one was on Thursday. Sounds funny but we are trying to increase the number of Young University girls we contact to build up the young adults and young women’s. My comp dared me to talk to these two girls that were super preppy and snotty sitting on the tram. I had no idea why but one of them had a shirt that said Dallas on it. So I thought, ok easy in for the conversation. So after I worked up the courage... She shut me down (tout de suite) which means like right away like completely. She just laughed and looked out the window. Then looked at me like I was a crazy guy with a badge on! I laughed it off. Let’s just say she was not ready for the gospel. The other experience I had was also on the tram. We were going to the church and I was sitting across from these two French ladies that are probably like 60 years old. They were whispering about me quietly but I could still hear. They starting saying that I was a Jehovah’s Witness or something because they are all over here. I leaned over slowing and just whispered "It’s actually Mormon which is little different". They were totally startled and embarrassed that I could hear them.  The first thing one said was "Oh wow you can hear well" They actually started to ask me questions because it would have been awkward if they hadn’t.  So yeah never a dull moment here, literally never!

A Members Beautiful Garden

So we had a pretty good week. A lot of fun here in Nantes.

April 28th

Well another week down. This week I had a lot of firsts, or really special experiences. The first was on our way to a conference in Versailles with the entire mission which is 230 missionaries. We left Nantes on a train at 5:55 AM and arrived in Paris at about 8:00 AM. We traveled as a zone of about 20 missionaries. We got to the station and got on the metros to get across Paris to the chapel. We had to run because we would of missed our Metro out to Versailles. So we got in the Metro, the loud, busy, stinky, tiny cars filled with people who don't look happy. It is always so packed that we can’t even move. So we were all there and had about 10 stops to go and all of a sudden a couple of us made eye contact and came up with the idea that we should sing a song. Scattered all over the metro car we started singing "Je Suis Enfant de Dieu" which is "I am A Child of God". We also sang "A Child's Prayer" in two parts with the sisters. Last we sang "Army of Helaman". This was one of the most interesting special experiences I have had on my mission. Looking around seeing people pausing their music and removing their headphones to listen. In the middle of the city on this metro I felt the spirit so strong and so did the people around us. It was amazing. It just made people happy to see these young kids in suits and dresses being so passionate and caring for a cause. People were pretty taken back. I would have to say for me I came to a full realization in that moment more than ever before that I don’t care what people think of me. I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored through Joseph Smith and people can take me as I am or deal with it. And yeah I am going to sing I am a child of God in your ear on the way to work Mr. French Business Man. It was a priceless experience to say the least.

Traveling with the Zone - Mission Conference
At the conference they talked about iPads and how we can use them effectively in our teaching. It was really good. I really enjoyed Elder Kearon’s talk very inspiring. Always great to see other missionaries that are serving in other areas.

Elders I served with in Belgium - Great to see them at Conference

The last cool little experience that I had this week was regarding our ami, the 22 year old student who is getting baptized on Saturday. She is ready and excited for that day. We had a baptism in our ward last week and she attended and loved it. It was really good for her to see all how that works. The week prior to this baptism we had asked her to consider who she would like to baptize her?  As we were talking after the baptism she was saying that she knew who she wanted to baptize her, “Will you baptize me?"  Naturally I said I would love too! I am super excited for her baptism Saturday. It should be a great day!

Oh Happy Day!
Those were a couple experiences and my week in a nutshell. Oh and I found a real hockey stick this week. THEY EXIST. I need to get those hands back in shape. Love you all thank you for the support!

May 4th

Well Hello everyone thanks for your emails this week. They are greatly appreciated. 

Well where to start? I had quite the interesting week. Our Pday was on Tuesday and we visited a really nice castle that is usually closed Mondays so that was a score. Then on Wednesday I left Nantes to go to Paris to pick up my new companion because my old one finished. I met Elder Carson and we headed back to Nantes. We had a really busy few days leading up to the baptism we had scheduled for Saturday.

Had too!
She was super excited. She even invited some of her friends. Saturday came around and everything was great. We had a ton of members support her throughout her investigating as well as at her baptism. She overcame a tremendous amount of difficulties to be prepared. But she did it. The service was so good. The talks and music were great. I could tell she was pretty nervous and well it’s hard to say that I wasn't nervous as well. It was a big day. But the one thing that hit me was the peace. The minute the service started I just felt this overwhelming comfort and peace. I felt so blessed to have been able to have the chance to help her, a daughter of God come one step closer to her Heavenly Father. It was a moment I won’t ever forget. Then the smile, she couldn't stop smiling after. I have come to know that the light and happiness the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings into peoples lives is not anything of this world. It stretches much farther than this life. Sometimes we are satisfied with the world. When you make this realization however, your life changes.  Pretty powerful.

Anyway it just happened to be that in the mist of the pouring rain walking home from that we walked by a man who was standing in a little alley. We walked by and both came to the conclusion that we need to go back and talk to this man after walking 10 feet. This doesn't happen often especially soaking wet in a suit.  We went back and talked to him taught him the Restoration in the rain soaking wet, said a prayer and he accepted to meet with us tomorrow, pretty cool. Oh and his name is God in French.  The mission is two years of tiny decisions that change people’s lives everyday.