Monday, January 12, 2015

Murble

Salut Y'all!

It's been a while since I wrote but we had a really cool week.  I'll start off with Monday.  We went over to a families house that live way far away by the french border.  It took about an hour and a half to get there.  We taught their friends which is a family of five children.  That on its own is a miracle because no one ever lets missionaries teach their friends in Europe.  Like ever.  So that was awesome.  And they have been coming to church.  Other than that we just started visiting new villes in our area and seeing where the good contacting is.
First saxophone ever made

Dinant, where the first saxophone was made
Saturday was an incredibly eventful day.  Probably one of the weirdest in my mission.  We found this man in the area book who was taught once.  He's a seventh day adventist and russian.  It said on his sheet that he tried to convert the missionaries.  I ignored that.  I called him and we set a rendezvous for Saturday.  Went.  Walked in.  And it was their sacrament meeting in his house.  First of all, he tricked us and literally forced me into the room.  When I stumbled in all eyes were on me and my badge.  I just looked at them and said bonjourrrr.  And then they all said it back in a heavy russian accent.  I'm not gonna lie, I felt like I was in the saratov approach haha.  But in the end the members there were extremely nice and I even got a french translator because all of it was in russian.  It definitely put me and my comp in the place of our amis and how it was a new environment.  Because the members were so nice there, I would for sure want to go back if I wasn't already LDS.  So it just goes to show how large of a role members play in the conversion of others.  If someone doesn't feel welcome, why on earth would they stay?  They just won't.  So it's important for us to be nice to everyone.
Monsieur Sax et Moi
Then came Sunday.  Church.  We ate over at the Chung families house.  They are an awesome asian family and she's a cook and teaches me how to make good food while I ask her french questions.  Asians are so cool.  After that we went porting.  While we were porting we met a girl who lived in New Zealand for a while.  She just couldn't believe that we were there.  She even started crying.  She said she'll come to church and she was incredibly smart and receptive.  Usually we just get crazies but she was cool and intelligent.  After that we had a lesson with a guy named David.  He was a lot of fun but sadly I don't know if he was really interested.  Hopefully, he will be though because I want to see him again.  And after that my comp rang at someone's door and at the end they said "au revoir madame."  Hahaha I laughed so hard.  And his face just went blank.  It was fun.  That's all.  Have a good week.  Ciaoooo!!!

La Petite Ville de Crupet

Le Chateau de Crupet

New Year's Day

January 1, 2015

Bonjour,

Christmas Eve dinner
Christmas morning
Missionaries of Namur reporting for duty (Elder Bigelow)
I slept in and for the second time in a long time, I am not exhausted.  And then we watched Monsters University.  Then my DMP, Patrick, from Charleroi came and got us and we went to the citadel and an old abby in the country and a cute little old belgian ville that I really like.  It was so much fun.  Patrick is one of the nicest people I've met.  And now we are drinking root beer and chocolates he gave us while emailing.  This year was a lot of fun on New Year's:)
Patrick and I at the Citadel of Namur
Christmas presents, yayy

Namur

December 15, 2014

Bonjour
Namur is pretty cool. It's a small city just like Cherbourg but Belgian.  It's really pretty and we live right next to a giant fort on the hill in the centre ville.  Belgium is amazing but sadly they don't sell any gauffres with nutella and whipped cream like in Charleroi.  Sadddd.
Going back to Charleroi never felt so good.  Honestly.  So good.
The ward here is great.  We got invited over three times already and everyone already knows me so it's going pretty well.  My comp, Elder Bigelow,  is nice.  He's from Utah as usual.
View from my room
And it SNOWWEEDD here.  We went up to high atitude to help someone move and it started snowing and it was like a foot high.  There's a strike right now so no buses work and nothing is open.  Really good for a p day.  Ugh.  But hopefully they will open soon.  Ciaooo
It snowed!
On top of the Citadel of Namur

Namur, does it no justice

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Back to Belgique!!!


December 8, 2014

Hey Rbody!

So as you've seen in the title, I will be going back to Belgium on Wednesday and I'm so excited.  I am going to a beautiful ville called Namur.  It seems like a perfect fit for me right now.  This has been seriously an awesome week.  So about two weeks ago, I was transferred to serve in Paris Paris.  I'd say Paris is my favorite city on earth, especially at night.  It's awesome.


Quick miracle that happened:  we went contacting with a member of our ward and we got five lessons with her and received ten phone numbers.  That doesn't usually happen by any means so it was really cool.  She was pretty attractive so maybe that's why but I don't know:)

District Photo
We also had the ward Christmas party and that was fun.  We hung out with all the members of our age and FEASTED!  French food has a distinct difference from all other food.  It's pretty cray cray.  Other than that it's just been great to be in Paris but it's really time for me to go.  I really need this country ville to be separated from people right now and kind of just be a full on missionary.  Being a missionary in Paris and Bruxelles is so much different than being a missionary in Charleroi or Cherbourg.  I think it's because when you're in the big cities you are always surrounded by missionaries.  So yeah and I will be doing exchanges in my blue ville so that will be cool.  Namur here I come!  That's about it.  Ciao!
Gnome I made out of wax
La Marne by Nogent sur Marne

Feeling sick

November 10, 2014

Bonjour a tous!

This week we had two of our amis come to church.  It was Mary (the new one) and one of her daughters Dina.  They really liked it and the members were so genuinely nice and social with them.  It was the coolest thing ever.  I think that we have the coolest ward in all of France.  We have really nice friendly members.  I never want to leave Nogent.  And we are fed about three times a week which happens no where else in all of France.  But this is only because I invite us over to their houses to share a message with them:)

The day before the sisters had a baptism and Casharelle and Mary went to that.  Mary looked at me and said "that was perfect."  Which is so voila!  I think we will set a baptism date with them this coming Saturday.  Other than that, not much happened this week.  We all got sick because one guy in our appartement got sick.  Then after that I got food poisoning.  And after that I got the worst headache I have ever had.  Felt like the back of my head was gonna explodddddd!  Also I'm staying in Nogent and so is my comp...third transfer together.  Three is too long for anyone even a best friend.  And I think that's all.  Byeee!
Reunited with Elder Mosley

Halloween Kustcoooo!

November 3, 2014

Oui bonjour tout le monde!

So we've been teaching a lot of people recently.  My comp and I made a ton of cookies for less active people and brought them it.  For the most part the people weren't home but some of them were.  There was one that let us in and he was really nice.  His mom still goes to our ward.  He still seems to love the gospel but his wife really just isn't interested.  He was actually good friends with the president of our mission so Meng and I sent an email and hopefully they will play tennis or something?  On ne sais jamais!
Lemon and Lime concentrate great right from the bottle!
We have a progressing family too that we are teaching.  They are really cool.  The daughter was actually taught by the sister but then we started teaching her.  She is one of the sassiest girls I have ever met.  I love it.  But they are all really great.  It's going well.

During an exchange, we visited Marie...oh my gosh one of the worst lessons of my entire mission.  I brought a member with us and right from the beginning she went off just yelling false doctrine.  Marie also invited her pastor to come.  Doesn't get any better than a member teaching false doctrine.  Every time I opened my mouth she went off until finally she told Marie that Joseph Smith found the gold plates in the land of mormon and some other garbage and I was like "No and please let me explain."  Then I took over and it went well but oh gosh it was bad at first.  Lesson to the story:  Always have the member teach you before they teach your amis...so you know if they are CRAZY or not.  Even this has never happened to me.  But there are lots of nuts out there.  But in the end  we dropped Marie from being our ami and we are now teaching her pastor.  Pretty cool huh?  He's really nice and actually talked to missionaries in the past.  I actually taught another guy from his evangelist church back when I was in St. Ouen.

We found some sweet 80s movies at our church made by the church.  They are actually really good.  I'm going to start doing my hair like the 80s men.  It's awesome.  And those movies are way better than the ones today.  And then today we went out to all you can eat sushi with the Paris Ilias elders and it was really good.  Soon Meng and I are going to Melun to visit Vaux Le Virompte.  A really cool chauteau.

For halloween I made cupcakes for our apartment and they really liked them.  Pure sugar, and then Meng and I made a big dinner.  I don't understand why halloween isn't big here.  When we went porting that night everyone opened the door like they wanted to shoot us because they thought we were trick or treaters.  We also went in a bat with a haunted elevator that kept following us on whichever floor we went on hahaha.  And then Meng knocked on a door and without him even touching it it opened and ....it was creepy.  Okay that's it.  Have a good week.  Byeeee

charity the most important thing

October 20, 2014

yO yOyoyoo

This was a pretty cool week as usual.  We mostly did a ton of contacting and porting in Nogent and a ville right next to it.  We found two women Chantal and Francoise.  They are both really nice and we have lessons with them this week.  We got fed twice this week by members:)  One was the family Mourrier.  They were really nice.  And the other was the family Allanick  There were awesome!  They had such a cute family and it made me want kids.  He also told us a ton of stuff about his mission.  He said that if he could go back on his mission the one thing he would change is his love for his colleagues.  I could relate.  I'm not the most loving person.  The reason he said that was because our message was about how we can spread the gospel.  We shared Corinthians 13 about charity.  In the end it says that charity is more important than faith.  I feel like the best way to spread the gospel is simply being charitable all the time and letting the gospel change us so that others can see the change.  It's hard to love everyone or simply just to be nice to people, but it's the most important thing.  That's it!!  Bye!


Chausette




plan of salvation

October 13, 2014

Bonjour,

Yesterday we went porting and starting talking to this older woman.  She was Laosian.  SO NICE!  Her daughter is handicapped and she has an illness that could take her life any day.  I wanted to cry throughout the time I talked to her.  I told her all about the plan of salvation and she said "that sounds really nice and it brings me lots of hope but its just not something I can believe."  When we first met her she wasn't interested.  But after testifying and sharing our personal beliefs she opened up and let us in.  It was sad to see someone with so many trials and difficulties in her life.  She loved her daughter so much and yet she couldn't even talk to her.  She said she's not really believing in God because she has asked him so much to take away her trials but they are still there.  I explained that that simply is not how it works.  We gave her to the sisters though because she is single.  But I'm going to stop by in the future and say hello.

Nogent is a great ville for proselyting.  I will never leave as long as I am assigned to this ville.  Also a member of our ward just moved back to America so we got ALL her meat!!!  AHH it was so amazing. We barely did any shopping today.  Byeee.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

bunnies and otters

October 6, 2014

Hi!  This was a cool week as usual.  We went over to a member's house and they served me a bunny...a tear left my eye as I was eating.  But it was actually very good.  Sadly I got to the rib cage and opened it.  To my surprise I saw a beautiful squishy kidney.  Ugh.  I almost hurled.  So I covered it, pretended I never saw it and smiled haha.  It was a fun experience.

We also found a less active member.  My comp and I went to find some less active people from these addresses we had.  Not many roads in France have signs on them so we didn't have much direction.  So I gave up trying and we went contacting.  When we got to the market in a ville next to Nogent, I turned to my comp and said "now wait...I want some juice really bad."  He said, "I don't know..."  Then right after that we heard a woman yelling "hey missionaries" and she turned out to be a less active member.  She invited us over to get some juice.  I call her juice miracle:) And now the sisters are in contact with a tahitian girl who takes care of her mother who has alzheimers.  The tahitian girl is a member.  Also it was really sad to see her mother there.  It was like she was there but not actually there.  I am very sympathetic to all of those that have parents that have that illness.  She said her mom grew up in Brooklyn.  When she said that I had a spaz attack hahaha.

This week was general conference.  My favorite session was by far the priesthood session.  If any of you haven't watched it, do so.  I think I found it so awesome because it answered all the questions I had brought with me to conference.  Bringing questions to conference made conference so much more meaningful.  It was great.  I still have three sessions to watch though but still.  They talked about self-mastery, making sure our daily choices are in line with our future goals and if they are not, reconsecrate yourself.  It was really good.  I actually found it relatable and for the first time I was actually excited to watch general conference!  That must be a shock to my parents haha.

We have no amis right now because no one will progress and if Marie and her family don't start by next lesson I think I will end it.  Oh also my comp and I went to the zoo today in Paris.  It was so coool!!!  My favorite area was definitely the otters.  They were awesome.  That why I love ferrets so much.  Byee!

Such a good week and transfer!

September 29, 2014

So this was yet again another great week:)  So anyone that doesn't know, I love dogs.  A lot.  They are the nicest animals ever and sadly one of my dogs passed away about two weeks ago.  It was really hard for me but I know it's not the end.  I only bring that up because we got a new ami this week from an african country.  She lives directly next to a house where a schipperke sits in the front yard and I get to play with him every time I visit.  I even bonded with the owner over the dogs.  It's pretty awesome.  So that on it's own made my week.  Then after we got her as a new ami, we went contacting by a lake in an area of Paris called Creteil.  The lake is BEAUTIFUL and makes me feel like I am in America.  Anyways, we contacted everyone that was on our path and all of them consisting of like 20 talked with us and we had a couple of lessons.  It was very cool and quite the miracle.  We did an entire tour of the lake and it took about two hours.  Good workout.

Then on Friday, we were invited to a Paul Cardall concert.  He's a really good piano player from America.  We brought Marie and her family and they loved it!  We went to their house and got them and they were like "well...okay we'll go."  The members were really welcoming to them and they seemed very touched.  Plus he centered the entire concert on the amis.  Marie told me she was very touched by his testimony.  Hopefully they will start progressing now.  They are such a great family and I want to see them baptized more than anything in Nogent.

I also really realize how incredibly scenic and beautiful Paris is.  It is the most beautiful place I've been to.  Sure there are gross parts.  But the nice parts are super nice.

This week has been a life changing week for me.  To sum it up, I realized that really we can do anything that we decide to do and go through with our plans.  We all have incredibly high potential but the works and temptations of Satan bring us down.  This can consist of numerous things.  Read the talks on self mastery on lds.org under the general conference section.  All very good and they have helped me a lot.  Just remember we can literally do anything we want if we set our minds to it.  I love my mission and my area!  Passez une bonne semaine!

Pas grande choses...:)

September 15, 2014

Bonjour tout le monde!

This was a cool week.  My companion and I have officially mastered the french art of making crepes.  We can make sugar ones and salted ones and with egg and ham.  It is dang good.  But anyways, not a lot has happened this week.  We did two exchanges and did a couple of rendezvous.  We met with one of our amis Marie and her family from Haiti.  They are finally starting to understand the Book of Mormon.  I feel very strongly that if they come to church they will love our church.  I can totally see them dressed in white.  So they are a main part of our lives right now.  We also taught David.  I was in Paris Paris when they taught him but apparently it went well.  Then we have another ami named Bern.  Haven't seen him in three weeks because stuff always gets in the way.  Ahhh very frustrating.

I really like France and it's starting to get a little bit cooler so that's nice.  Hope you all have a good week!  Byeee

Schlarrrr

September 8, 2014

Heyyy everyoneeee!  Elder Vance here,

So this was a very rewarding week and I have learned a lot.  We went to a ton of parks on P day and it was a ton of fun.  There was one with a butterfly garden where there were like 50,000 butterflies everywhere.  But it was closed.  However, I snuck around the back to see it and it was cool.  Then we had tons of lessons with random people on the street through contacting and porting but none of them turned into investigators.  Sad.  Then on Wednesday, we had this thing where the mission of Lyon and our mission combined for a day.  We were to pray every 30 minutes and contact all day (not much changed haha).  So we did that and honestly for the most part, we taught about the same as we normally do.  Something that I noticed, however, was that even though not much happened that day, the days following we saw some really cool stuff.  We accidentally ported into one of the sisters amis during the day and passed by the next day to teach her.  Now the sisters are teaching her again.  We went to a home to teach a family but they weren't there, so instead we taught her kids.  There were also some kids that were just friends of their kids that we taught.  They had a ton of questions.  And while they aren't progressing now, it's possible that we planted some seeds.

Then the highlight of my week was Sunday.  If you remember there was a guy from Columbia who came into the church because he was curious.  Well he kept his rendezvous and we taught him.  He stayed for all of church and he became a new ami.  He said he's been interested in our church for a long time.  He loves that families are important to us and that aspect lacks in almost all other churches.  And he knew a little about Joseph Smith.  And on top of that he reminds me a ton of Schlar (Schuyler my brother in law).  So I get a little bit of home when I teach him haha.

We also got about four referrals this week that we still haven't really contacted.  Whoops gotta get on that haha.  And then that night we found a man while contacting who was taught before in Paris lilas but they dropped him.  Maybe this time he will accept it.  And he told us that he was confused how to know what church is the true church?  Perfect so we'll be building off of that:)

I love Nogent and my mission.  Something that I also really loved about my studies this week was Alma 41.  It says wickedness never was happiness.  Such a simple sentence and yet so much meaning in it.  I have to say when I reflect on my life, it's amazing how much the world (Satan) has tricked me into doing things against the will of God.  I'm sure it's the same for all of us.  I would encourage us all to think about what makes happiness that lasts rather than temporary happiness.  While material things are good and fun, they don't make happiness that will endure.  It's okay to have those but let's not let them take over our lives. Love you all!!!  Byeeeee

Ca fait un an! wow

September 1, 2014

Bonjour tout le monde!

This week has been a really cool week where I have learned a lot.  But first of all today has been the year mark of my mission.  In exactly one year I will be going home:)  It 's amazing how fast time goes.  And yet so much has happened so I'm content.  I've learned a ton.

So this week I did an exchange with my zone leader and we found a ton of crazy people.  We looked for a crazy man whose phone answering machine said that he was Napoleon and he likes to swim and stuff....  Thankfully, we didn't find him haha.  Then afterwards Meng and I went to a park to contact.  It is a park with the biggest zoo in France I think.  And it was huge from looking at it from the outside.  We talked to a ton of people and some were very interesting.  This one person lived in Tahiti and she talked to us for about 10 minutes.  She was interested in genealogy and so we gave her contact information on that.  We visited a lot of less actives this week also.  Sadly our contacting didn't give us too many rewards but hopefully this week it will be better.

This week I studied a ton on the topic of pride and humility.  Basically what I learned is that we all have pride.  Every human being on the earth whether it be a little or a lot.  It was because of pride that Satan was cast out of heaven.  He wanted to be better than God and God's other spirit children (us).  It's weird how it's such a common and universal sin, and we all look over it.  It is also known as a gateway sin.  It leads to a ton of other sins.  What really got me interested in this topic was that I noticed how all the problems I've been having have been all caused by my own pride.  It's hard to change and it takes time but with prayer and study people have said it is possible.  I've already seen little differences in my life.  God even said to us that His people will be humble and the prideful will burn.  Extreme, but God will have a humble people.

Love you all and hope you have a great week:)
Burger King in a really long time



Nogent

August 25, 2014

Bonjour!!

So I'm going to start off with telling you that I love NOGENT!  We live in a very nice and clean appartement (so thankful) and the area is extremely classy.  The building in Nogent was the third LDS church to be built in France.  The day after I got here we did some service for a member in our ward.  We painted and cleaned windows and it was a lot of fun.  I'm still getting to know people but so far all the members that I have met are extremely nice.  On Sunday, when I introduced myself to the ward I told them that I'm looking forward to eating with them and doing service with them.  They laughed and we got a few rendezvous scheduled.  I'll be doing that for my next ville too.

We went over to the stake president's counselor's house and it was awesome.  We ate some curry and really good brownies for dessert.  They had a dog who I played with the entire time and we got to know them all very well.  This is going to be a good ward.  We also had a few rendezvous with our amis.  I'm really happy because in all of my past villes, when I have gotten there we had no one and nothing.  It was frustrating.  But here, Elder Meng and his comp before worked hard so we have some good people to teach.  We are teaching two families from Haiti who are really nice.  One of them has a son named John who absolutely adores us.  He's also really funny.  I'm excited to teach them.  We also found a man from Congo named Bern who thought we were Jehovah Witnesses and so we talked to him and now he realizes that we are in fact not.  And we have another rendezvous with him today.  Other than that, we have taught some less active members and they are all french men that have a problem with smoking.  I really do not understand the popularity of smoking in France.  They know that there are no benefits to it at all.  Just makes you look older and die faster.  And smell terrible...and destroy your teeth.  And lots of other stuff.  But I'm certain to try my hardest to help them.  It's up to them to stop not me though.

We visited another less active member who stopped going because basically he felt shamed to go back to church.  Some stuff happened between him and a member that made him feel a bit weird and so he stopped coming.  We shared with him Romans 8:35-39 and it basically talks about that there is nothing in this universe that can separate us from the love of God and Jesus Christ.  They will always love us no matter how far down we go and they will always help us to get back up.  We just have to have faith in them and do the best we can.  But he said that touched him and hopefully we can get him to come back to church.  He also said that he knows that he needs to go and that every Sunday he feels like he's missing something.

Have a good week, byeeee!

Chateau Fontainebleu


La Defense

Shainy

August 18, 2014

Bonjour,
So this week I found out that I am being transferred to Nogent with Elder Meng who actually used to live with me.  This was quite an eventful week I have to say.  I'll start with yesterday.  Yesterday a less active we have been working with for the past 4 months has come to church for the first time.  I was so happy when I saw him there that I just kept telling him that haha.  He is finally starting to change his life again and come to the gospel.  Then after that we went over to Soeur Georgette's house to eat.  She made me die laughing.  She is originally from Kameroon in Africa and so I asked her a question how to differentiate between muslims and just african (it can be a bit difficult to tell).  She threw out her entire wardrobe and did a huge fashion show for us haha.  She was styling the head dresses and tying stuff all over her head.  They are called boubous by the way.  Then we got to try as well.  It really was a fun experience.  And now we understand the african culture better.  While we were there she played hymns and I don't know why but when I was sitting there and she was cooking I felt at peace.  It really made me realize that Sunday is a day of rest.  Well more of a reminder.  We are commanded to relax and invite the Spirit into our lives as much as possible.  A great way to do that is by playing hymns and reading scriptures or doctrinal books.

Then on Wednesday we went contacting and porting in a rich area that looked like a resort.  We actually ran into a woman when we were contacting.  She was the nicest Jehovah Witness I have met.  I asked her why she was a JW and she explained that she loved the bible and God.  Then we started talking about the Book of Mormon and sadly she didn't accept it but maybe she will in the future.  Also she spoke in english a bit and so I asked where she learned it.  She said that she learned it in France because her daughter lives in Australia and her grandchildren speak in english.  And then I asked "Well french too right...?"  She responded "no, just english."  I felt really bad for her.  She learned an entirely new language just to speak to her grandchildren  That's love right there.

I'm so thankful that I was sent to this ville.  It's not the prettiest but I sure saw miracles here.  Especially with less actives.  It's amazing how a simple invitation and friendly hand can really make a difference.  Sometimes people just need a push.  I'm excited to go to Nogent and start working my butt off there.  I only have one year left and I am going to give it my all.  There are people to find there and I don't want any regrets at the end of my mission.

Also this week has been rough for me emotionally.  I had some difficulties and I didn't know what to do.  I honestly had no idea.  So I prayed and let out my heart to Heavenly Father.  I told him I honestly have no idea what to do and I need His help.  Then after that experience I found a scripture in the Book of Mormon in Ether Chapter 12:27.  It says:
27. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

When we don't know what to do, we always have our Heavenly Father with us.  Whether it be instantaneous or in one year he will help us if we humble ourselves before him.
Love you and have a nice week, Elder Devin Vance

PS.  I named this email Shainy because she is sitting next to us talking hahaha.  She is going to write a few words to you:  "Salut tout le monde:)  C'est lui qui m a oblige a vous ecrire je me sens mal, il est tres enervant il n'arrete pas de m'embeter touuuut le temps voila non je rigole il est tres gentil avec moi et me fait rire il va me manquer:( faudra venir en France pour me voir et pratiquer votre francais:)
Patrick

Soeur Nikiema.  The nicest woman who invited us over all the time.  

Ovo!  Served a mission in England and is now converting the rest of France!

The wonderful Shainy

St. Ouen

August 11, 2014

Bonjour Chèreee Famille et mes Amis,

We are not teaching Keyril any more. Let's just say that ended very strangely. He was not really interested in the Church but more in changing the Church. And his behavior was very strange. So that was a sad end.
Last Monday we went to the Louvre. It was a bit disappointing.  I was expecting Monet beautiful landscape pictures. But all there was was a giant piece of work. Such a letdown. My comp and I have been sick all week long so we didn't do a a lot of work. We are teaching Lawson again and he will have another baptismal date next week. He's so cool. He has changed his life a lot. He realized he doesn't want to be stuck in the same place for the rest of his life and that something needed to change. We also went over to a Tahitian families house and ate Asian food. So good. Have a good week!
Met Cedric who just got baptized and is preparing for a mission (above) and this is Patrick