Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's not all baguettes and sunflowers, but it's still France (and Switzerland)!

Well the first week has come and gone and it was absolutely a first week. 

First to clarify, my preparation day is in fact still Monday but I forgot to bring the iPad to the Institute building in Geneva yesterday which meant I couldn't write an email. Good thing we got to make it up today! 

I've done a few days of work and to be perfectly honest the work is hard! I figured it would be, but I didn't know how. I thought my French was better than it was, but it's always good to be humbled. I've been told by multiple French people that I don't have an American accent which is really nice to hear, but it doesn't change the fact that I understand very little of what people say and only sometimes can I express what I want to say when I do understand enough to come up with a valid response. Because the language barrier is affecting my ability to communicate, it's affecting my ability to be outgoing and thereby diminishing my confidence. I know I've only been here a week, I just have to give myself time to adjust and really dive into Gospel study and 100 percent obedience to mission rules. The more I show my commitment to God and His work, the more He will bless me to be able to help His children. I heard that testimony from several people in the MTC, now I just have to apply it in my own life. Prayer works, I've seen it many times already and I'm confident that it remains true! 

The work is good though, don't get me wrong. We've met some really cool people in the branch and in the community and we recently taught a woman on the side of the road about prophets and gave her a Book of Mormon. We went porting the other day (faire la porte à porte, going door to door) in a neighborhood where everyone has an outer gate. We rang the "gate-bell" and the dude came out of his house, looked at us for about 1 second, then waved his arm in our direction and walked back inside. It was really funny, we had a good laugh over it. Mostly people are pretty nice! French people aren't rude, always remember that boys and girls. 

I'm almost out of time but really quickly, two things: 1) Dinner last night was awesome. We ate with our branch president we all made raclettes, which is chopped potato topped with melted cheese and eaten with ham. It's ridiculously simple, but wow super delicious. Les français know how to do food. We have dinner appointments almost every night this week (beginner's luck?) so that'll be super cool. 

I keep hearing how lucky I am to have started in Geneva Zone, although I don't know what's normal so I just roll with everything that comes our way. 

That leads me to number 2) Yesterday's preparation day activity! Our whole zone got together in Geneva (which still blows my mind) and took the train to the old mission home for the Switzerland Geneva Mission where we ate lunch and played Mafia (which in French is called loup-garou, or werewolf). After that we all hiked up a little ways to get a really pretty view of Lac Léman and then hiked back down to the lake itself. Four of the missionaries in our zone finish their missions this week, either tomorrow or this morning (like Elder Bollard, crazy to think that I only knew him for a few days and now he's done). I touched the water in Lac Léman so I can say I have. I'll send pictures later! 

Geneva is a really pretty city and really interesting, I'd like to spend more time there in the coming weeks although I'm not actually allowed to serve there because I'm American. That's why our zone has people from France, Germany, Austria, and England in it because only non-Americans can live and proselyte in Switzerland. Our zone is pretty close, it was fun to get to know people and see that there are most people like me all over the surrounding area and around the world all engaged in the work of God. The Church is true! The Book of Mormon is true and will bless your life more than you know! 

By the way, if you have questions about anything I say in my letters, feel free to shoot my parents an email and they'd be glad to help you understand what I'm talking about and what I'm up to :)

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