Monday, August 24, 2015

The Tallest Perk in Europe

Wow I love puns.

I'd been looking toward the east for a while now trying to catch a glimpse of it and finally, there it was! Earlier this week Elder Pien and I were sitting at the CERN bus station outside Geneva when I finally saw Mont Blanc, sans clouds. It was more or the less the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Tallest peak in Europe and you can see it from where we're serving, it's crazy. The Gex Elders (whose apartment we stay at on Saturday nights because they live right next to the church building) live on the 4th floor and have an amazing view of Mont Blanc on clear days; I don't know how that place doesn't cost about a million euros. So Mom, I know you love the mountains in Utah but personally, I prefer the Alps ;)

We went working the other day in Thoiry, a little place nestled up against les Juras (small mountain range right next door to us), and I decided it's one of my favorite small towns ever. It's super quaint and super French, walking around there feels like I just stepped into a WWII movie (minus the violence, bien sûr).

The work is slowly progressing! We've been finding new people to teach through street contacting and in friends of members, but mostly we're trying to focus on strengthening less-actives. There's quite a few of them and we need them all to be strong in the Church if this branch is to accomplish their goal of becoming a ward in three years!

We ended up having dinner with families every day Monday-Friday last week. I had raclettes a second time, but that time it was complete with an appetizer of canteloupe, then the raclettes, then a salad course with vinegar, olive oil, and salt, and then dessert of apple pie (not French but still yummy). So good. The night after that was Elder Pien's birthday, and we happened to be eating with a family whose mother is Spanish and father is Cuban, so it was a total fiesta :D It was awesome! And the family was super nice and made Chinese food for us because of course, Elder Pien is Chinese/Taiwanese/Canadian and I wear a Chinese nametag everyday (people still get very confused looks on their face when they notice). The noodles definitely had a European twist, it was really good. Oh and for lunch that day, again in honor of the birthday boy, we went to a Chinese buffet down the road that was super cheap and super good. I love food!

I feel like I had so much to talk about and now I don't remember any of it. Bummer :/

One thing I learned this week is that you have to keep a Christlike perspective on every situation during your mission or it's just not going to feel right. We ported into a guy a couple days ago who we thought wouldn't be interested in our message because few people are, but we ended up standing on his porch for quite a while talking to him. However, we stayed too long because all he wanted to do was prove us wrong. He was really quite cordial and there was no animosity, but he had lost any hope that he'd ever had of God existing. Our conversation went nowhere, but once we finally left we had quite the discussion about how people will only see miracles and only have faith if they have a desire to believe (see Alma 32:27). The man we talked to had no hope, so he turned away and no longer had a desire to know God. Sometimes people think that if they pray once to know if God exists, he will send a lightning bolt or an angel or that God himself will come down and say "Here I am! Believe in me!" But that's not how it works. The Lord works in small, subtle, and mysterious ways to help us grow and learn to trust Him. Always remember that if you have truly prayed with sincerity of heart and have a desire to gain an answer but feel like you're not getting one, it's not because He doesn't answer. Odds are you're just looking in the wrong place; nobody but God is perfect after all. Trust in God to guide you and He will! I wish I could remember everything I wanted to tell you but it'll have to wait for another time.

Dieu vous aime!

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