|Adam with his "greenie" companion, Elder Burgoyne on the right at a zone conference. I'm glad the mission staff posts these pics on their mission Facebook page!|
|Isn't this food beautiful?|
Hey family and friends!
Boy I hope life is going well for you all and that August ended in a tranquil manner.
It seems like the days have just really started rolling by much faster this week. I was surprised a couple days in a row this week how fast the days go--I found myself kneeling down for companionship prayer at the end of the day, and it felt like just a few hours or moments before, I had done the same thing the day before. Haha. Man it is weird. But I can testify of the power of being active and making full, positive use of your agency and your ability to labor. Few people have fully realized the value of those two principles--choice and work. I challenge you all to try to make unusually good choices and to work exceptionally hard this week. You can only see blessings for it. :) It makes boring times go by faster, too! Busy people we admire have a secret--they don't give themselves enough leisure time to be bored. Interesting, isn't it?
This week, we once again felt that our weekly statistics didn't really represent the week. We had a much better week than numbers would account for. We did TONS of service! At Francois' house, at the Bishop's house, and at Brother Judas' house, the Elder's Quorum President's house. Man, it was fun. Haha a lot of service at important Priesthood brethren's houses. For Francois' family, we moved some old shelves and other things from their back patio onto their yard so they could prepare to have cement placed where their patio is now. We insulated the ceiling of the garage of the bishop's house. And we demolished a stone wall at Frere judas' house. Cement and stone. It was pretty tough. Haha. They had a power drill with a special attachment for breaking/cutting cement and similar materials, which naturally did most of it. However, I did still learned that cement is indeed breakable by hand. Amazing what big metal mallets will do. Whew it was still tough though. Don't try this at home kids.
Much of our week was occupied with those three service activities, the latter two especially, each taking a full day to accomplish. And the rest of it was spend at district meeting, visiting the dear souls we have to watch over and teach and nourish spiritually, and contacting. :) We made a good week of it, though, worked hard to smile, laugh, and have a better attitude than before, and that it made it much better. Much better. Funny what a little bit of smiling and unbeatable attitude will do. If I learn one thing from my mission, I hope it is to be clean all my life and to have an unconquerable spirit in the face of opposition when I'm doing what is right. So it was a great week. Even with small moments of opposition, it seemed as nothing to us, because we were already feeling positive, and we didn't want to let it bother us. So that was great.
To go more in depth on our appointments interactions with people this week, we were able to visit the Duvin family, and talk about repentance. They enjoyed it as always. Visits have been going much better since the one time I botched it a few weeks ago haha. They are such a nice family.. We were also able to visit Brother and Sister Trouillet, and Sister Trouillet, who can't walk very well due to an accident, has made serious progress. We see more light and motivation in their faces since we started coming, since we first came with other ward members. We had a great Correlation Meeting with our ward mission leader, Francois. And we had a great district meeting, all about how to gain our members' trust, how to have that great missionary aura, through all our church meetings and interactions with them. That was fun to see the whole gang in Saint Merri. Then we visited Chantal later that night we also had a fairly killer visit with Ariel and Monica. We felt we were able to get on a more humorous, more personal level with them through that visit, and hopefully strike a chord with them, showing them sincerely and pretty boldly that they need to come to church, whether they're tired or not. It was fun to see their faces light up and laugh a little bit as we talked. I hope I have that influence on people, I'd much rather be a motivator and someone who makes people laugh than the opposite.. We did a lot of weekly planning and explored a little bit of the southern side of Compiegne, which we don't know very well in general. we did the service at Frere Judas' house. Then, , we had an absolutely KILLER day. Boy that was awesome. We had church. Then, during church, Frere LeBras, a dear dear frere, randomly invited us over to his family's house for lunch after church that day. We were like, "well yeah, we're in!" So after church, we went there, ate a great meal, but even more importantly, enjoyed a great moment with a great member family. Frere Hitoto was also there. (He has been doing GREAT at coming to church, by the way. Man he has been really consistent recently, probably 3 or 4 out of 5 Sundays, whereas before he wasn't coming at all. We're super happy.) Then, after the lunch, we met a new potential, Lasanna, for our first official appointment at the church. That went rather well.
To tell you Lassana's full story, rewind two weeks. Elder Burgoyne and I passed by a nice-looking, tall man from Sierra Leone, and we either let him pass us by or talked to him briefly. It seems to me we talked to him briefly, and had a nice but brief exchange. However, last week, , we were walking in normal street clothes to Francois' house to do service. On the way there, by the big roundabout we pass on this trip, just a few seconds after crossing the street, I notice a tall man maybe 15 or 20 yards away, and my eyes are drawn to him. He is of African origin, but I don't recognize him right away. Yet, as I look at him, and as my attention is drawn to him, in the middle of our conversation between Elder Burgoyne and I, the Spirit says to my heart, or perhaps my mind, as I perceive his slow, bent walk and his wistful look to the side, "that man is pondering truths or questions that could have to do with his salvation." It was a tangible, fairly certain feeling. I could trust it, I felt that as I looked at him. And so, hesitantly, a little afraid, knowing this is awkward because we're not in our normal clothes, I finally talk to him almost as he passes right by us, and we smile and talk for a couple minutes. We asked him if all was all right. He opened up and told us about how he'd been having problems with his spouse and that his debts were many, and that he had many problems. That they had been a burden for him. I opened up, after smiling and listening, telling him that we share messages for people with such problems, and that the things we share, while maybe not fixing monetary problems right away, could nonetheless help make things right and give him the right vision for how life is and how it should really be. And so, happily, gladly, he gave us his phone number, and we set an appointment for last Sunday at the church at . And he kept it, too. The visit we had was wonderful. He is a Muslim man, but is very very open to other truths where they might be found. We talked a little bit about the Family proclamation, the Plan of Salvation, and had him commit to try to live by the paragraph of the Proclamation starting with "The Family," where it talks about how family life should be based off of prayer, patience, etc. and he said he would. He had to leave after not too much time, as he had other things to do, but we testified to him that the things we taught were sincere, and that people in our families and our ancestry had made the search, as he had, and they had found, as we had, that the Church was true. And so we hope that something we said touched him. We left him with a Plan of Salvation brochure and a Book of Mormon, invited him to church, and we will call him in the next couple days to see him again soon! He lives just down the street from the church (amazingly--I don't know how the Lord does that) and so we think it will be fairly easy to see him.
Elder Burgoyne made great statements of testimony and significance in the lesson. It was a beautiful experience. He's progressing well, too, I'm proud of him.
I'm constantly reminded of the need to have patience, or to communicate openly, or the need to not let anger fill my soul up and burn away my life. It is important to give preference to the sweet, consoling influence of the Spirit and the "angels of our better natures" over carnal pride and anger which would so quickly end our souls.
I testify that the Gospel is true, and any sensible fool who reads the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the written words of modern prophets in proof of the truthfulness of this Church will know it's true. It all makes sense. And when you think it doesn't all make sense, pray harder. The Lord will show you eventually that it does. If your faith needs to be great enough to move mountains, make sure you're not making mountains out of molehills of doubt or insignificance. And by golly, don't ANY ONE of you mess up a chance to commit to do a good thing, an act of service, to visit an elderly or sick person in your ward, or a friend, and don't fail to EXECUTE that duty, that act of service. Don't miss opportunities to do something good, for your life or for another's.
Talk to you all soon.
It has been a glorious 20 years of service here. :D